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White chili with chicken and root vegetables

Makes: 4 to 6 servings / Time: About 1 hour, largely unattended
Makes: 4 to 6 servings / Time: About 1 hour, largely unattended


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound cut-up boneless chicken thighs or ground chicken
  • 2 pound leeks, trimmed, well rinsed, and chopped, or use 2 onions
  • 1 pound parsnips, celery root, or turnips (alone or in combination), peeled and chopped
  • 2 pound all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into dice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon whole ancho, chipotle, or other dried chile
  • 4 cup cooked (or 2 cans) white beans (like navy, lima, or cannellini), drained


Baking Directions:


Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

When it’s hot, add the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brown the meat well, stirring frequently.

Remove the chicken and pour off some of the fat if you like.


Add the leeks to the pot and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the root vegetables and potato, along with the, sage, bay leaf, chile if you’re using it, and lime zest.

Toss to coat in the oil then add the reserved chicken, another sprinkle of salt and pepper, and enough water to just cover everything.

Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the chili bubbles steadily; partially cover.


When the vegetables are just getting soft, in 15 to 20 minutes (stick a small sharp knife in a piece of one to check), stir in the beans and a little more water if the mixture looks dry.

Raise the heat a bit and continue to cook, stirring once or twice until the beans absorb the flavors and begin to thicken the chili, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve, garnished with some parsley if you like.

(Or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days).


You can make this with turkey or even duck if you’d prefer.

Or leave the meat out and increase the root vegetables to 2 pounds.

If you cooked the beans from scratch, use some of the cooking liquid instead of the water.

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